Episode 47: Jerry Rawlings’s Legacy, and Ghana’s Long Road to Democracy

Jerry Rawlings visits AMISOM 04
Former President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana visits the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in 2004. Photo: AMISOM Public Information used under CC0 1.0

Kwesi Wilson, a Ghanaian-born news analyst and professor of communication, joins Africa Straight Talk to explain the complicated legacy of former President Jerry John Rawlings, who died in November. A former Ghana Air Force fighter pilot, Rawlings navigated the country’s bloody coup-ridden early decades of independence to become head of state in 1981.

Although during the first half of his 20 years in power he ruled as the head of a military junta, Rawlings is credited with bringing stability to Ghana and facilitating the transition multiparty democracy.

Wilson guides us through the history of his country of birth, and status of democracy following the latest presidential election in Ghana, which the incumbent President Nana Akufo-Addo won. Wilson also looks at how Akufo-Addo is handling the COVID-19 pandemic in the West African country.